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First Annual Report of the Board oP Birecfers 

of the Massachusetts Cremation Society 
to the Stockholders. r /atk, 

The first year's operation of a new crematory is naturally of 
great interest, and is peculiarly so in our case, since our means of 
effecting the incineration differs from any hitherto employed for 
the purpose. The Board of Directors has therefore peculiar satis- 
faction in reporting that the furnaces built for us by the Ames 
Oil Burner Co., of North Easton, Mass., have proved in every way 
to accomplish the end in view, of reducing to ashes a human body 
with the utmost celerity and decency, with perfect safety, at an 
expense not appreciably greater than that of any other form of 
furnace. The shortest time of a cremation was fifty minutes, the 
longest two*hours and a half, the average is from one hour to one 
hour and a half ; this does not include an hour of heating the 
retort before the body is introduced into it. The average cost 
of each incineration for fuel is, — for coal, $1.65 to drive the fan, 
and, — for oil to heat the retort, $3. The wages of the engineer 
and assistant amount to $30 a week. 

The building containing the retorts may now be considered 
in perfect order for practical purpcses^hough still needing much 
in the way of decoration and furnishing to meet the aesthetic re- 
quirements of our patrons. The walls of the chapel have been 
carried up to the first band of limestone shown on the elevation, 
and will not be completed until we shall have sold most of the 
shares of stock now in our treasury. No persistent attempt to 
sell shares has been made during the year, owing to the disturbed 
financial condition of the country. Your Board feel confident 
that an urgent appeal to the community to purchase the remain- 
ing shares of stock can probably be made before the end of the 
current year, with a reasonable assurance of success in disposing 
of the remaining shares. If successful in this, we shall have 

ample funds to fijvdv*»rtd* A*ri>i,slj. our chapej.... During the past 
autumn we have g»fa<le<f a5id.btyft:p.; teTSipJraVry chfvetf ay from the 
street to the crematory, have laid out, top-dressed, and seeded 
the lawns about the finished part of our building, so that during 
the coming summer that portion of our grounds will present a 
pleasing appearance. Some extraordinary expenditures have had 
to be made to correct imperfections in the construction of our 
furnaces, attributable mainly to the very exceptional degrees of 
heat with which we had to deal. For instance, our chimney 
cracked and warped, so that the upper half of it had to be torn 
(1 )wn and rebuilt; and, later on, it had to be carried fifteen feet 
higher than originally built, to meet the requirements of the Board 
of Health. So much for our expenditures. On the other hand, 
your Board is able to make a most satisfactory exhibit of current 
business, which has far exceeded our most sanguine estimates. 
Including our first cremation, which took place on Dec. 30, 1893, 
we have had a total of 87 cremations up to Jan. 1, 1895. This 
number is far greater than can be shown by any crematory on 
this continent or in Europe for its first year's work, except the 
crematory in San Francisco. 

We have completed the first year of our existence with most 
of the problems that originally confronted us favorably settled. 
We have erected a substantial building, which has proved admira- 
bly adapted to its purposes ; our system of heating has been 
demonstrated to be superior to that employed by any other crem- 
atory ; finally, the large number of incinerations during the year 
make manifest that we have the support of this community. 
Much still remains to be done to secure funds to complete our 
chapel and further embellish our buildings and grounds, so that 
we may fully satisfy the aesthetic requirements of the public. 

For the Board of Directors, 



Boston, Jan. 2, 1895. 

Treasurer's Report for the Year ending January 2, 1895. 

Balance, as per Report of this date, 


Received from sale 67 shares of stock, 


" for 87 cremations, 


" from sale of urns, 


" interest on deposits in Trust 

Company, ..... 

1 13.01 

Total receipts, .... 

$1 1,088.79 

" expenditures, 


Balance on hand Jan. 2, 1895, 



Paid out on building account, 


On account retorts and machinery, 


Laying out grounds and building road, 


Steam-heating outfit, .... 


Extraordinary repairs on chimney, 


Labor in sundry small repairs, 


Furniture, ...... 


Wages of superintendent and assistant, 

i,5 6 3-63 

Coal and oil for retorts and heating, . 


Printing and advertising, 


Express and telephone charges, . 


Hardware and other supplies, 


Sundries, ...... 

1 10.06 

Tin, iron, and copper urns, 

1 17.40 

Filing certificate of condition, 


Water rates for 1894, .... 


Corporation tax, .... 

!5 6 .93 

City of Boston tax, .... 


Insurance, ..... 


Total expenditures, 


Note. — The last twelve items under expenditures show the 
running expenses for the year, and foot up $2,922.47. This 
amount, as may be seen by examining the income side of the 
account, is nearly covered by the receipts from incinerations, 

JOHN RITCHIE, Treasurer. 

Boston, Jan. 2, 1895. 


To the Stockholders : 

The business of our corporation has increased in the last 
twelve months to a most gratifying extent. Since our last 
annual report we have had one hundred' and thirty-seven 
incinerations, which is an increase of more than fifty per 
cent, over that of the two previous years. The receipts for 
the year for cremations amount to $3,975.00 and the ex- 
penses to $3,181.68, leaving a balance of profits of $793.32; 
this sum makes good the deficit in the expenses over the 
receipts of the past two years, so that we enter upon the 
fourth year of our existence with our full capital intact and 
$3,123.03 of cash in the bank. This sum includes the leg- 
acy of $1,000 from the estate of Samuel G. Child, Esq., re- 
ceived by us on March 24, 1896. The total number of cre- 
mations for the three years is three hundred and eleven. 

Of the whole number of 5,000 shares of capital stock 
2,859 snar es have been sold, leaving 2,141 shares unsold. 
Our chapel is still unfinished, and it is very important for 
our future prosperity that we should sell the rest of our 
shares, and thereby secure the funds to complete our build- 
ing. For $10,000 we can put a roof upon the chapel and 
build the portico. Until the chapel is completed we cannot 
feel that our institution is meeting the reasonable aesthetic 
or religious demands of our constituency. It is much to be 
hoped that the friends of cremation will see that this defect 
is remedied. 

Among the notable people who have been cremated dur- 
ing the year may be mentioned S. R. Urbino, Colonel 


Henry Stone, Mrs. Eliza M. Newhall, William G. Weld, 
Dr. Francis M. Weld, Professor Francis J. Child, Dr. Gard- 
ner H. Scudder, and George O. Carpenter. 

It is much to be regretted that the Roman Catholic 
Church still maintains so decided a stand in opposition to 
cremation, so that several of its followers, who have died 
in this community, were not cremated in accordance with 
their expressed wishes. That the action of this Church is 
not based on doctrinal but upon social and political con- 
siderations is made manifest by the following translation 
from the Latin of the Pope's pronunciamento on the subject 
as published in the American Ecclesiastical Review, vol. xii. 
p. 499- — 

Most Holy Father : 

The Archbishop of Friburg, prostrate at the feet of your Holiness, 
humbly asks for an answer to the following questions : — 

I. Is it allowed to give the last sacraments to those of the faithful, 
who, although they neither belong to any Masonic organization, nor 
admit Masonic principles, yet influenced by other reasons, have ordered 
their bodies to be cremated after death, if they refuse to withdraw this 
order ? 

II. Is it lawful to offer either publicly or privately the Holy Sacri- 
fice of the Mass or to accept endowments for Masses for the repose of 
the souls of those whose bodies have been without fault on their part 
cremated ? 

III. Is it lawful to co-operate in the cremation of bodies either by 
command and counsel, or by actual assistance such as that given by 
those who perform the duties of physician, officials, and workmen in 
a crematory ? At least, may this be allowed, if done in case of need or 
to avoid great loss ? 

IV. Is it allowed to give the sacraments to those who engage in 
such co-operation, if they are unwilling to withdraw from the same, or 
declare that they are not able to change their occupation ? 

Wednesday, July 27, 1892. 

In a general meeting of the Congregation of the Inquisition, the 
above-mentioned questions were proposed to the members ; and, after 
taking the votes of the reverend consultors, the eminent and reverend 
cardinals, general Inquisitors in matters of faith and morals, ordered 
the following answers to be given to the above inquiries : — 

To the first question we answer that it is not allowed to give the 


last sacraments to such Catholics, if after being admonished of their 
duty, they decline to retract the given command. As to whether such 
warning should be given or not, the rules laid down by approved au- 
thorities must be observed, special regard being paid to those referring 
to the avoidance of scandal. 

To the seco?id inquiry we reply that it is not lawful to offer the Holy 
Sacrifice publicly for such persons. It may, however, be offered in 
private for them. 

To the third question, we make reply that it is never allowed to 
co-operate formally either by command, or by counsel. Material co- 
operation may sometimes be permitted, provided (i), that the cremation 
be not considered as a formal avowal of Masonry; (2) that there be 
nothing in the cremation itself which directly and specifically expresses 
denial of Catholic doctrine and approval of Masonic principles ; (3) that 
it is not evident that the Catholic officials and workmen are either called 
or forced to perform these duties out of contempt for the Catholic relig- 
ion. Furthermore, although, in the cases permitted, such persons are to 
be left in their own good faith, — namely that they are not thereby com- 
mitting wrong, — still they are always to be warned not to have any in- 
tention of formal co-operation in the cremation. 

To the fourth inquiry, we answer that the reply to the same has been 
already given in the foregoing. The decree of Wednesday, Dec. 15, 
1886, should also be consulted. The following is the substance of this 
decree : — 

Whenever question arises about the Christian burial of those whose 
bodies have been cremated, not by their own order, but by the com- 
mand of others, the ceremonies and prayers of the Church may be used 
both in private residences and in the church, but not in the place where 
the cremation takes place, provided there is no danger of giving scandal 
thereby. Now there will be no danger of giving scandal, if it be made 
known that the cremation of the body does not take place at the desire 
of the deceased himself. Where, however, there is question of those 
who, of their own choice, select this method of disposing of their 
bodies, and who are, for a certainty and publicly, known to have made 
this request even to the moment of death, attention must be given to 
the decree of Wednesday, May 19, 1886, and they must be treated 
according to the laws of the Roman Ritual laid down in the chapter 
entitled "About those to whom it is not lawful to give Christian burial." 
In particular cases, however, in which doubts or difficulties may arise, 
the ecclesiastical superior of the place must be consulted, who, after 
due consideration of all the details, will decide upon that course of 
action which he shall judge in the Lord to be the most conformable 
to the teachings of the Church. 

On the following day, our Holy Father Leo XIII., by favor of divine 


Providence Supreme Ruler of the Church, after listening to the de- 
cisions of their Eminences, the Cardinals, deigned to approve and to 
ratify the same. 

J. MANCINI, Notary of the Inquisition. 

According to the teachings of Catholic theology, there are two kinds 
of co-operation, formal and material. Formal co-operation is had 
when assistance is given to the criminal action of another inasmuch as 
it is actually sinful. Material co-operation is had when assistance is 
given to the action of another, not as it is sinful, but merely as it is a 
physical act on the part of a human bei?ig. In other words, formal 
co-operation is an action which, regarded even in itself, partakes of the 
sinful nature of the criminal act that another is about to perform, 
whereas material co-operation is merely an action which does not par- 
take of this criminal nature, but which is misused by wicked men to 
unlawful deeds. 

The aesthetic arguments in favor of cremation have been 
augmented during the past year by several occurrences. 
The new building of the Union Club house, at 7 Park 
Street, covers in part an old stable abutting on the Granary 
Burying-Ground. Under this stable three old tombs have 
been uncovered, of which two were empty, but one contains 
a score or so of wooden coffins. There is no clew to the 
identity of the owners of these tombs or of those interred 
in them. In the rear of the site of the buildings Nos. 12 
and 14 Beacon Street, soon to be built upon by the Amer- 
ican Congregational Association, are fourteen tombs, which 
will have to be removed to make way for the cellars of the 
projected building. 

From Town Topics, a journal in which we do not expect 
to find such consideration for the feelings of others, we take 
the following paragraph : — 

Recent revelations in regard to New York churchyards constitute a 
new argument in favor of cremation. Somebody tried to break open a 
tomb in St. Paul's yard, and then the fact was developed that nobody 
knows whose tomb it is, as the church records do not give the locations 
of the different graves. Simultaneously, a corporation notice is issued 
to the effect that old St. John's graveyard, on Hudson Street, is to be 
turned into a public park, and it is significantly added that "the remains 
will not be disturbed, but the tombstones will be buried," thus making 


an identification of the separate graves impossible. Washington Square 
is on the site of an ancient burial place, long since forgotten. Former 
generations of New York went to much expense and trouble to provide 
their dead with vaults and tombs, according to their station in life, each 
inscribed with names and dates, but these few years have blotted out 
the records and reduced the buried thousands to an indistinguishable 
mass of refuse. Cremation is more decent, more reverent, and more in- 
dividual. When you have in an urn the ashes of a dead relative or 
friend, you may be reasonably certain whose ashes are in the urn and 
may preserve the precious receptacle among the family treasures, with 
little risk that it will become mixed up with the urns of total strangers. 
All the concomitants of old churchyard burials are horrible. I have 
seen things in a family vault that sicken me to recall, but so long as 
people insist upon burials, there is no security that the new, picturesque 
cemetery of the present time may not be the old, neglected, desecrated 
graveyard of the next generation. Cremation is not only more healthful 
for the survivors ; it is a better means of assuring the identity of the 

In this sentiment we fully concur. 

For the Board of Directors, 



Boston, Jan. 6, 1897. 

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To the Stockholders: 

The spread of the sentiment in favor of cremation in 
New England, as made manifest by the business of your 
corporation, is steady and rapid. We had in the year 





Making a total of 

The increase in the past year over the preceding year 
is 23, or 17 per cent., in spite of the fact that the general 
mortality in the city of Boston has decreased from 22.53 P er 
1,000 of population in 1896 to 21.08 in 1897. This number of 
160 incinerations in one year derives added significance from 
the fact that in Mount Auburn Cemetery, after sixty odd years 
of existence, there are only between 500 and 600 inter- 
ments annually. Our receipts from cremations for the year 
amounted to $4,720.00; our current expenses, to 4,066.96. 
We have a balance of $132.76 in treasury. 

We have sold 576 shares of stock during the year. There 
remain unsold of our original 5,000 shares of capital stock 

I have much gratification in announcing that we have 
been able, in the course of the year, to complete the exterior 
walls of the chapel and the porch, and to roof them both in. 
In this construction we have expended $9,670 and have 
no outstanding indebtedness. Sketch-plans for the interior 
finish and decoration of the chapel and for the redecoration 

87 incinerations 

160 " 


of the retort-room in harmony with the former, by our 
architect, Mr. L. S. Ipsen, I am able to show you to-day. 
The finish is to be of painted wood, every panel of which is 
made to open so as to give access to niches for the reception 
of urns containing the ashes of the bodies which have been 
cremated. The niches themselves will be made of iron or 
brick, so as to be absolutely safe from fire or Vandalism. 
You will observe with what skill and taste our architect 
has concealed the niches, so that they do not mar the general 
effect of the finish, as is the case in most crematories in this 
country and in Europe. 

On the opposite side of the chapel the space above the 
porch will open into the chapel above the principal en- 
trance, where there will be a balcony, reached from the 
floor of the chapel by a winding staircase. On the balcony 
can, when desired, be placed a choir, with an organ in the 
loft of the porch behind it. To finish and decorate 
the interior of the chapel and retort-room, we shall need 
about $10,000, which we confidently expect will be secured 
by the purchase of stock by those in the community who 
wish to see our decent and hygienic method of caring for 
the dead supplant inhumation. When the chapel is fin- 
ished, our funds will be largely supplemented by the sale 
of the niches for perpetual occupancy, of which, it is esti- 
mated, there will be no fewer than 300, of different dimen- 

Within a week there will be completed a new catafalque, 
so constructed under the supervision of Prof. Richards as 
to be of the usual height for burial service in the chapel, 
yet capable of being elevated to the level of the retorts, so 
as to allow the coffin to be pushed from it directly into 
them. It will be tastefully draped with dark-colored plush. 

With the completion of our chapel and the redecoration 
of our retort-room, we shall feel that we have taken a long 
step in the direction of what has been our constant aim 
from the beginning, — the satisfying of the reasonable aes- 
thetic demands of the community. When this has been 
fully accomplished, we confidently expect to win many more 
converts to our cause. 


A clause from a letter to our engineer from one of a party 
of gentlemen who inspected our building and studied our 
methods last year, with a view to the erection of a crematory 
in Milwaukee, is interesting in this connection : " I have 
regarded your society and its crematorium as a model, and 
am only strengthened in the belief often expressed since my 
return from the tour of inspection of last year, that the 
ideals of the governing bodies are the measure of their suc- 
cess. Where the only object seemed to be to construct the 
plant as cheaply as possible and to burn the body as expedi- 
tiously as consistent with cheapness, without much regard 
to the effect of the operation upon the feelings of the friends 
or spectators, the growth of a real sentiment in favor of 
cremation has been retarded or almost crushed out. The 
evidence of the success that your society has had from fol- 
lowing a different course confirms my faith in the theory 
that high ideals are as necessary in this businesses in other 
educational work. . . . Our retort is constructed in many 
respects on the same lines as yours, but in some respects I 
like our burners somewhat better. The principle is much 
the same, however." 

In our report of last year we sought to emphasize the con- 
trast between the care of the last remains of our beloved dead 
in urns preserved for all time in niches in the walls of our 
chapel, and interment in cemeteries, by citing the desecration 
of tombs in and about the Granary Burial ground in Boston 
by the construction of the Union Club House and the Con- 
gregational House, and of similar acts in St. Paul's Church- 
yard in New York. Since then new and more striking 
instances have occurred. In excavating the subway under 
Tremont Street in Boston one night this autumn, the work- 
men invaded the King's Chapel Burial-ground, and dis- 
covered a whole colony of departed fathers, but hastily 
closed up the pit. 

In the Boston Joitrnal of Sept. 27, 1897, is a letter from 
Clinton, Mass., describing the agitation among the parish- 
ioners of St. John's (Catholic) Church on the announcement 
that St. John's Cemetery would be taken by the State for 
the Metropolitan Water-works. This cemetery was laid 


out in 1847, and contains 4,000 to 4,500 bodies, which it is 
proposed to remove, together with the tombstones, to a new 

In New York one of the oldest cemeteries, situated in the 
Twelfth Ward, known as God's Acre, is to be removed to 
make way for new streets. Beneath the mounds scattered 
through this cemetery repose the remains of many who 
took part in the struggle of the Revolution. 

" Laborers at work excavating the lot on the north-east 
corner of Read Street and Broadway, New York, have un- 
earthed three perfect skeletons and fifteen skulls." 

"The old Union Cemetery in Brooklyn has been sold for 
business lots ; and Contractor Farrell has been employed to 
remove the bodies, amounting to about 30,000, and re-inter 
them in the Cedar Grove Cemetery." 

These are a few instances, that chance to have come to 
our attention, of the fate which awaits the bodies of our 
loved ones when we lay them with tender reverence be- 
neath the green sod. 

We have demonstrated the spread of cremation in New 
England by the increase in the number of incinerations at 
Forest Hills. Its spread throughout the country can be 
made evident by a list of the crematories already established. 
We take the list mainly from the Urn of Dec. 25, 1895, 
published in New York by Louis Lange :— 

1. Washington, Penn., 

2. Lancaster, Penn., 

3. New York, 

4. Buffalo, N.Y., 

5. Pittsburg, Penn., 

6. Cincinnati, Ohio, 

7. Los Angeles, Cal., 

8. Detroit, Mich., 

9. St. Louis, Mo., 

10. Philadelphia, Penn., 

11. Baltimore, Md., 

12. Swinburne Island, N.Y., 

13. Troy, N.Y., 

14. Davenport, la., 

15. San Francisco, Cal. (1) 

first operated in 




Boston, Mass., first operated 

in 1893. 


Chicago, 111., " " 

« 1893. 


Waterville, N.Y., 

" 1893. 


San Francisco, Cal. (2), " " 

« 1895. 


Pasadena, Cal., " " 

« 1895. 


Fort Wayne, Ind., " " 

« 1895. 


Washington, D.C. 


Milwaukee, Wis. 


Middletown, Conn, (asylum). 


St. Paul, Minn. 

For the Directors. 



Boston, Jan, 5, 1898. 


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To the Stockholders: 

Uneventful prosperity has characterized our work since 
my last report. We had in the year 

1894 87 cremations 

1895 88 

1896 137 

1897 160 

1898 167 

Total 679 

We have sold 440 shares of stock during the year, leaving 
of the original shares of capital stock 1,125 shares in the 
treasury of the company. We have received a gift of $1,000 
from a lady who does not wish her name to be disclosed. 
Old friends and new converts to our method of disposing of 
the dead are urged to take up these remaining shares, to the 
end that we may obtain funds wherewith to complete our 
chapel and to purchase about two acres of land adjoining our 
lot, whereby to avert the erection of cheap houses in full 
view of the crematory. We have neither mortgage nor other 
debt, and have a surplus in the treasury of $6,345.28, result- 
ing from the above mentioned gift, from the sales of stock 
during the year, and from the profits of our operations. Our 
architect, Mr. L. S. Ipsen, has made new plans for the inte- 
rior of our chapel, embodying fresh suggestions on a more 

economical basis, which I am able to show you to-day. If 
they meet your approbation and that of the Directors, they 
will be carried out during the coming year, provided our funds 
are adequate for the required expenditures. 

The strong trend of sentiment in favor of cremation in this 
community has been accentuated this year by the application 
of the Mount Auburn Cemetery to the legislature for per- 
mission to erect a crematory upon its grounds. To this step 
they have been impelled, as their attorney expressly stated, 
by their sense of duty to their proprietors, upon discovering 
how many bodies have been cremated by us, and subsequently 
interred in the family lots within the cemetery. It is not 
their intention to enter into competition with us outside of 
their own proprietors, so that we do not apprehend any 
appreciable falling off in our business when this new crema- 
tory is erected. 

For the Directors, 



Boston, January 4, 1899. 


To the Stockholders : 

The spread of sentiment in favor of cremation is made 
manifest by the large percentage of increase in the number 
of incinerations at your crematory from year to year. The 
following table is of striking significance. Of cremations 
we had in the past six years : 

1894 . . . 

1895 . . . 

1896 . . . 

1897 . . . 

1898 . . . 

1899 . . 


In view of the development of the land around our grounds 
by the cutting through of streets and the building of second- 
class dwelling-houses in the near future, your Directors have 
been impressed with the importance of extending the 
boundaries of our lot of land, so as to maintain the com- 
parative seclusion in which our buildings have stood. Since 
our last meeting the Board has consequently purchased, 
on favorable terms, about two acres adjoining our land on 
the north and west sides. As this land is largely covered 
with fine old shade-trees, we have thereby protected our- 
selves, for all time, from the possible intrusion of unsightly 

In spite of this large disbursement, we find ourselves at 

87 cremations 

160 " 




the end of the year with a surplus of $5,428.05 in our 
treasury, which has seemed to warrant your Directors in 
proceeding with the completion of the interior of our chapel. 
They have signed contracts within a month to the extent of 
$3,000 for the plaster and woodwork of the ceiling and walls. 
When these are finished, the floor will be laid and the chapel 
ready for use, though several thousand dollars more will be 
needed for the decoration, electric lighting, heating, etc., 
of the chapel, and for the arrangement of the columbarium 
in the basement. The sale of a few hundred of the nine 
hundred shares in the treasury would enable us to put the 
whole chapel and columbarium in a tasteful condition, in 
accordance with the finished plans of our architect. 

The crematory which has been in process of construction 
during the past year at Mount Auburn Cemetery will be 
finished and ready for use in the spring of the year 1900. 
The fact that so conservative a corporation has thus declared 
itself as favorable to incineration should be a source of 
satisfaction to all friends of cremation. The authorities of 
that corporation still assure us that it is not their intention 
to compete with us outside of their own proprietors, so that 
no serious falling off in our business is to be expected from 
their competition. During the year 1899 Mount Auburn 
Cemetery has interred the ashes of only 21 bodies in 505 

There have been cremations of the bodies of the follow- 
ing well known persons during the past year : — 

Franklin Whiting Brigham, M.D. Horatio Alger. 

Harriet F. Wolcott. Rev. Charles Marion Lamson. 

William C. Cutler, M.D. Rear-Admiral F. H. Picking. 

Francis Minot, M.D. Rev. Dr. Samuel May. 

Florence A. Wightman. Francis W. Welch. 

Rev. George Herbert Hosmer. Epes Sargent Dixwell. 

Russell Sturgis, Jr., M.D. Walter Dabney. 

William B. Gale. 

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To the Stockholders : 

The sentiment in favor of cremation in New England 
during the past year reveals less increase than hitherto, as 
might be expected. 

The following table shows the number of cremations that 
have taken place at our crematory in each of the past seven 
years : — 



87 cremations 


On April 18, 1900, the crematory at Mount Auburn 
cemetery, Cambridge, was opened ; and between that date 
and December 31, 50 bodies were there incinerated. These 
were drawn from the same territory which we had previously 
occupied without competition. If they be added to the number 
which we cremated in the year, it will be seen that the total 
(238) shows a slight increase over the number (230) cremated 
last year. Those of us who have the spread of this method 
of disposing of the dead more at heart than the interest of 
any individual corporation are contented with this showing, 
although we should have been better pleased to have had 

larger receipts at our crematory, so as to have been enabled 
at an earlier day to have brought our buildings to completion. 

Your Treasurer's report will show that we are still in a 
prosperous condition, having a small surplus ($60.08) in the 
bank over and above all our liabilities. The interior of our 
chapel has been finished and paid for during the year. A 
new boiler has been installed, and a large coal-bin been 
excavated. The steam-heating and electric lighting plants 
for the chapel have been installed. The chapel still has to 
be furnished; and the columbarium for the permanent care of 
the ashes, beneath the chapel, is still to be built. With our 
diminished profits, due to the competition with Mount 
Auburn, it becomes incumbent upon us to sell the remain- 
ing shares of stock, in order that we may complete our 
establishment in a way to meet all the requirements of the 
public, our patrons. 

It is pleasant to be able to state that our relations with 
Mount Auburn are of the most friendly character. That 
corporation offered us the free use of its crematory during 
the two weeks when our chimneys broke down in October. 
While we did not accept this magnanimous offer, but trans- 
ferred to that institution such incinerations as came to us 
during that period, we fully appreciated the liberal spirit 
which dictated the policy. 

There have been cremated during the year the bodies 
of the following well-known persons : — 

Captain John Codman. Dr. Charles C. Street. 

Charles K. Whipple, Esq. Edmund Dwight, Esq. 

Barthold Schlesinger, Esq. Hugh K. Norman, Esq. 

Dr. Sarah E. Sherman. E. D. Buffington. 

Dr. Charles H. Davis, of Worcester. 

For the Directors, 



Boston, January, 1901. 

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It is now eight years since this society established the first 
crematory to be operated in New England. As pioneers, we 
have had to bear the brunt of public opinion, and mould it 
to accept our method of disposing of the dead body as better 
than interment, which had been practised from the earliest 
times of Christianity, and had, consequently, the sanction of 
tradition and custom. That cremation is commending itself 
to an ever-increasing number of persons in this community is 
made evident by the annual increase in the incinerations. 
The subjoined table shows the number of cremations that 
have taken place at our crematory in each of the past eight 
years : — 



87 cremations. 



Our cremations are less by a small number than last year, 
owing to the competition of Mount Auburn Cemetery, in 
which during the year 119 incinerations have taken place. 
The total of the two establishments is 291 incinerations, — 
considerably more than in any past year. While these figures 
would disturb us if we were a mercantile house seeking to 


make money, they satisfy us by demonstrating the spread of 
our doctrines and practice. We are still able to announce a 
handsome surplus of profit in our operations for the year, 
amounting to over $2,000, as will be shown by our Treas- 
urer's report, while $1,500 of profit has been expended in 
decorating, painting, and furnishing our chapel and in 
lining up our furnace with glazed white brick. We have, 
with all expenses paid to date, $670.57 in the treasury. 

It is with some surprise that we learn from the latest 
historian of cremation in New England that our success in 
establishing a crematory in New England was " the second 
part of the programme which the New England Cremation 
Society set out to accomplish," the facts being that the New 
England Cremation Society (the second of the name) having 
failed to obtain sufficient support, pecuniary and otherwise, to 
attain its object, did, through some of its individual members, 
induce the present managers of the Massachusetts Cremation 
Society to organize a movement to erect a crematory. These 
individuals, finding it expedient to act by buying out the 
Massachusetts Cremation Society, then located in Worcester, 
and equally unsuccessful, entered upon the field, raised the 
money, — which neither of the two other societies could do, — 
built the present crematory, and have made of it a success. 

The two New England cremation societies, under the 
same management, and the Massachusetts Cremation Society, 
while in Worcester, unquestionably did yeoman service in 
creating a sentiment favorable to cremation in New England ; 
but they were unable to secure the pecuniary support essen- 
tial to a materialization of their project. 

Our appliances for reducing the human body to ashes are 
practically as perfect as can be found in any part of the 
world. Our chapel is essentially completed, though not as 
yet aesthetically as satisfactory as we could wish. There re- 
mains only the columbarium, for the permanent preservation 
of the ashes, to be built. Our plans to effect this needed 
adjunct are made, and will be carried out during the coming 

year if our resources warrant the outlay. The sale of two 
or three thousand more shares of capital stock would put us 
in position to do this, and thereby enter into amicable com- 
petition with the Mount Auburn Cemetery under more favor- 
able auspices. 

We have cremated during the year the bodies of the fol- 
lowing well-known persons : — 

Edward C. Cabot. Dr. Jane K. Culver. 

Mrs. Sarah F. Wesselhoeft. Louis Aldrich. 
William Filene. Mrs. Elizabeth R. Cabot. 

Ellen Elvira Gibson, first 
woman chaplain in army. 

For the Directors, 



Boston, January i, 1902. 

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Exceptional material prosperity has attended the operation 
of your crematory during the past year. We could all take 
unalloyed satisfaction in this fact had we not met with a 
grievous loss in the death of our Secretary, Dr. John Homans, 
2d, on May 4, 1902, after a few months of hopeless suffer- 
ing which he bore with admirable stoicism. None of you can 
appreciate, as I do, how much of our success has been due to 
his enthusiasm, his persistence, his good taste. It was his 
abiding faith in the possibility of accomplishing our purpose 
that influenced me to join him in the beginning, in an effort 
to rejuvenate this society, and through its organization to 
erect the first crematory in New England. It is a satisfac- 
tion to realize that he lived long enough to see the fruition of 
his efforts, and, dying, to commit his body to our care for in- 
cineration. The only public bequest in his will was $1,000 
to this corporation, which the executor informs me will be 
paid in the early spring. It is the purpose of your Directors 
to expend this sum in constructing an approach to the chapel 
from the front, as shown in these plans, and to erect a gate- 
way which shall be, in a sense, a memorial of the donor, our 
first secretary. The subjoined table shows the number of 
cremations which have taken place in New England in the 
past nine years : — 

j a. 

IV. ^t»4- 


Mi. A nburti. 



87 cremations. 







T 37 








230 " 
















You will note that there has been a steady increase in the 
number of incinerations from the beginning, and that in this 
year's increase we have had more than our share. The result 
of this prosperity will be shown in the Treasurer's report by a 
larger surplus of profit in our operations for the year, and a 
balance in the treasury of $2,451.51, with all expenses paid to 

We have cremated during the year the bodies of the follow- 
ing well-known persons : — 

Royal B. Prescott, M.D., Nashua, 

John Homans, 2d, M.D., Secre- 
tary Massachusetts Cremation 

Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D. 

Anna M. Clark. 

Joseph A. Bubier, M.D. 

Hosea M. Knowlton, Late Attor- 
ney-general, Commonwealth of 

For the Directors, 



Boston, January 7, 1903. 

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It is ten years since this Society became the pioneer in enabling 
incineration to be practised in New England by erecting our 
crematory at Forest Hills. The number of our incinerations 
increased annually at a rapid rate until the year 1900, when the 
crematory at Mount Auburn was erected and began to divide the 
field with us ; but still the cause has gained ground and the aggre- 
gate of the two crematories shows a steady spread of our method 
of disposing of the dead. This year we have had 225 cremations, 
an increase of seven over the total of last year, and a proportion- 
ate increase in profits. Your Treasurer's Report will show that, 
including the bequest of $1,000 from our late Secretary, Dr. John 
Homans, 2d, we have to-day a balance in the treasury of $3,984.40 
with all expenses paid to date. 

During the year we have expended in improving our building, 
the grounds, and machinery, nearly $2,000. Our whole power 
plant has been transferred from the room in the rear of the 
retorts to the basement, where we have installed a new steam 
engine, and a new blower upon independent stone foundations, 
by which change we have obviated the vibration of the building, 
unpleasantly perceptible when they were in operation, and have 
largely diminished the noise audible in the retort room and 
altogether that in the chapel. 

We have furthermore installed an electric motor, deriving 
electricity from the Electric Light Co., by the use of which we 
expect to dispense with the steam engine during the five or six 
months of year when we do not need to heat the chapel. By this 
means we expect to make quite a reduction in our running 

With the gratuitous service of an accomplished architect, 
Mr. Thomas A. Fox, we have laid out the drive ways upon 

our grounds, converting the old entrance into a foot path and 
constructing a new drive way to the front of the chapel from 
Walk Hill Street, as originally intended. At the entrance of this 
drive way we shall erect an imposing gateway in memory of our 
late Secretary, Dr. John Homans, Jr., with the bequest which he 
made to us. The stone for this purpose already on the ground, 
is the same as that used in our buildings and is the gift of the 
owner of the quarry, Mr. William R. Richards. The plans for 
the gate have been made by Mr. Fox, and the work will be 
undertaken as soon as spring opens. Shrubs will be set out for 
the further embellishment of our grounds as soon as planting can 
be done. 

Within the past month we have bought of the Mason & Hamlin 
Co. a reed organ and put it in the organ loft over the front porch, 
whereby suitable music can be supplied during the services in the 
chapel, when desired. 

The subjoined table shows the number of cremations that have 
taken place in New England during the past ten years : — 

Massachusetts. Mt. Auburn. Total. 

1894 87 cremations. 87 

1895 88 " 88 

i 8 96 137 " 137 

1897 160 " 160 

1898 167 " 167 

1899 230 " 230 

1900 188 " 50 238 

1901 172 " 119 291 

19 02 • 2I 7 " 134 35 1 

1903 225 « 153 37 8 

1,671 456 2,127 

We have cremated during the year the bodies of the following 
well-known persons: — Alexander Whiteside, John Davis Wash- 
burn, Dr. George Haven, Mrs. Henrietta L. Wolcott, Hon. John 
E. Russell, George O. Smith. 

For the Directors, 



Boston, January 6. 1904. 

Cremation ^Society 




for the year 






Geo. H. Ellis Co., Printers, 272 Congress Street 
J 90S 



To the Stockholders: — 

I can report for this year reasonable prosperity, though a 
small falling off in the number of cremations, apparently due 
to the small number (6) in the month of September. The 
reason of this shrinkage is indeterminate unless it be attribut- 
able to the exceptionally low death-rate of that month, as 
reported to us by the undertakers. If that month had been 
up to the average, the number of cremations would have been 
as great as last year. In spite of this slight diminution in the 
number of cremations your Treasurer's report still shows a 
profit of nearly four per cent, on our capital stock. Our 
cremations for the year amount to two hundred and eleven. 

The most important event in the year is the passing out of 
existence of the New England Cremation Society and the 
acquisition by the Massachusetts Cremation Society of the 
two funds in its treasury, — a "special fund" accumulated to 
promote the cause of cremation, amounting to $1,377.86, and 
an "incineration fund" of $2,823.57, being the contributions 
of its members in prepayment of their cremations. The 
Massachusetts Cremation Society agrees to use the former 
sum for the purpose indicated, in such way as it seems advis- 
able, and in return for the second fund it contracts to meet 
the obligation, incurred by the other Society, to cremate all 
those who had paid the fees for their incinerations in advance. 


The addition of these two funds to our treasury gives us a 
balance on hand, January i, 1905, of $5,608.51. 

This condition of our finances has seemed to your Directors 
to warrant preparations for the construction of a Columbarium 
in the basement under your Chapel. They have accordingly 
had plans made by the architects, Messrs. Fox & Gale, which 
are herewith presented. The cost of the whole Columbarium 
will amount to $8,000 or more, but the stairs from the 
nave of the Chapel into it and the first section of the Colum- 
barium can be constructed for half that sum. As there will 
be an immediate return by the sale of niches, when even a 
portion of the Crematorium is completed, the Directors are 
inclined to meet this long-demanded addition to our equip- 
ment in the near future. Plans have also been made by the 
architects for the redecoration of the interior of the Chapel 
and for the substitution of pews for the unattractive chairs in 
the Chapel. 

Mrs. John Storer Cobb, having indicated her desire to 
contribute to the Society some lasting memorial of her hus- 
band, has accepted the suggestion of the Directors to place a 
memorial mural decoration, nine feet high by twelve feet wide, 
on the walls of the western end of the Chapel. A sketch of 
such decoration, made by Mr. George H. Hallowell, has been 
accepted by Mrs. Cobb, and its execution authorized by her. 
This will add greatly to the attractions of the Chapel. 

The gate, of imposing proportions, has been erected in 
memory of our late Secretary Dr. John Homans, 2d, with ap- 
propriate inscriptions. The grounds surrounding our build- 
ings have been graded and planted with rhododendrons and 
other shrubs and trees, so that in a year or two they will 
present a most pleasing aesthetic effect. 


We have had many inquiries with regard to the legal rights 
and duties of relatives and others with reference to cremation 
and the right of a person to give binding directions with re- 
gard to his own body. To meet this inquiry, the Directors 
have secured the legal opinion of Messrs. Richard W. Hale 
and Frank W. Grinnell on the subject which is printed as an 
appendix to this report. The results reached by them should 
prove interesting and their opinion valuable to all interested 
in the cause of cremation. 

The subjoined table shows the number of cremations that 
have taken place in New England during the past ten years : — 

Massachusetts. Mt. Auburn. Total. 

1894 87 — 87 

1895 88 — 88 

1896 137 — 137 

1897 160 — 160 

1898 167 — 167 

1899 2 3° — 2 3° 

1900 • 188 50 238 

1901 172 119 291 

1902 217 134 351 

1903 22 5 153 378 

1904 211 180 391 

1,882 636 2,518 

We have cremated during the year the bodies of the follow- 
ing well-known persons : — 

William G. Benedict, Sr. John Storer Cobb. 

Walter C. Cabot. John Malcolm Forbes. 

Mrs. George S. Hale. George A. Alden. 

Frederick W. G. May. Alpheus B. Slater. 

John Ransom Bridge. Miss Lucy R. Woods. 

And, since the close of the year, William H. Baldwin, Jr. 

James R. Chadwick, M.D., 


Boston, January 3, 1905. 


To the Shareholders of the Massachusetts Cremation Society : 
The undersigned as Treasurer submits the following annual report for 1904. 
The receipts and expenses have been as follows : — 

Resources Other than Current Income. 

Cash Balance, January 1, 1904, $3,984.40 

Special Fund, New England Cremation Society, . . $1,377.86 

Less expenses of liquidation to date 21.98 i>355-88 

Incineration Fund, New England Cremation Society, $2,823.57 
Plus two payments in advance, 60.00 


Less Cremations charged against it, 185.00 $2,698.57 

Total of such resources, $8,038.85 


Received for 211 Cremations, $6,365.00 

" from Sale of Urns, 425.00 

" for Use of Chapel, 10.00 

" from Sale of Old Engine, 30.00 

" for Interest at Bank, 127.58 

Total Income, 6,957.58 

Total Receipts from all sources, $14,996.43 


Operations Account, $3,755.18 

Unexpired Insurance Account, 198.88 

Buildings Account, 950.70 

Urns Account, 336.95 

General Expenses, 605.85 

Land Account (Gate and Planting), 3,311.55 

Publicity Account, 228.51 

Total Outgo, $9,387.62 

Total Receipts, $14,996.43 

Total Outgo, 9,387.62 

Balance Cash on hand January 1, 1905, $5,608.81 


Another mode of stating the figures is as follows : — 

Profit and Loss Entries December 31, 1904. 
Income 211 Cremations, Interest at Bank, and Miscellaneous, . $6,532.58 

Profit on Sale of Ums, 88.05 


Operation at the Creamatory, $3>755- I 8 

General Expenses, 605.85 

Publicity, 226.51 4,589.54 

Surplus of Income over Operations, $2,031.09 

Spent on Building during the year, $950.70 

Permanent Improvements, Organ, Snow Guards, etc., 500.00 

Charged to Profit and Loss 45070 

Spent on Land during year, $3,311.55 : — 

This includes Gate and Iron Fence and Grading, $2,337.32 

and Planting, 974-22 

All of which are permanent improvements, . . $3,311-55 

Leaving profit and loss account increased by . . $1,580.39 

Assets and liabilities after above profit and loss entries are as follows : — 

Capital Stock, $42,190.00 

Land Account, $13,311.55 

Buildings Account, 25,500.00 

Urns Account 210.89 

Cash, 5,608.81 

Unexpired Insurance, 198.88 

Special Fund, New England Cremation Society, . . 1,355.88 
Incineration Fund, New England Cremation Society, 2,698.57 

Consignment Account, 1 34.2 5 

Dedham Pottery Co., I34« 2 5 

Profit and Loss, 1,414.32 

$46,378.70 $46,378.70 

Respectfully submitted, 

RICHARD W. HALE, Treasurer. 

60 State Street, Boston, 
January 3, 1905. 


Boston, Mass., Jan. 9, 1905. 

Dr. James R. Chadwick, 

President Massachusetts Cremation Society. 

Dear Sir, — Our opinion is asked by your Society as to the 
right of a person to control the disposition of his body after 
death and as to the respective rights of surviving relatives and 
other persons in the matter. We have carefully examined 
the law upon the subject, including reported cases and articles 
and discussion in legal periodicals and beg to report to you as 
follows. It is, of course, to be understood that our considera- 
tion has had especial reference to the cause of the cremation 
of the dead as advocated by your Society. 

The inquiry seems to us naturally to divide itself into three 
parts or questions : — 

I. What is the right of a person to control the disposition 
of his own body ? 
II. What are the relative rights of members of the family 
of a dead person and others interested as among them- 
selves ? 

III. In what form and substance should instructions be 
given by one desiring to control the disposition of his 
own body ? 


The Right of a Person to control the Disposition 
of his own Body. 

It has long been the common practice for persons to give 
directions in their wills for the disposition of their bodies, and 


from time immemorial these directions have been respected. 
See an interesting article in vol. 17 of the Law Journal 
(London), p. 149. 

The following are instances of this practice : — 
Jeremy Bentham, whose learning and research in the law 
gives his example peculiar weight, bequeathed his body for 
dissection. William Pelham, Kt., in 1532 bequeathed his 
body "to be buried in the chauncel of Laughton." John of 
Gaunt in 1 397 directed his body to be buried in the cathedral 
church of St. Paul, " and that it be not buried for forty days 
during which I charge my executors that there be no cering 
or embalming of my corpse." Other references are given, in 
the article above cited, to old forms of wills in conveyancing 
books ; and the author tells us of the interesting fact that on 
September 26, 1769, a Mrs. Pratt's body was burned "in the 
new burying-ground adjoining Tyburn turnpike," according to 
direction in her will. These instances of the early English 
practice are similar to the early Massachusetts practice, and 
undoubtedly to the early practice in other parts of this coun- 
try, to illustrate which the following clauses in wills are chosen 
at random from local Probate Records. Moses Paine of 
Braintree in 1643 by his will (see Suffolk Records, vol. 1, p. 
26, orig. vol.) provided as follows : u My bodie to be buried 
wheresoever it shall please God to call me, at the discretion of 
my sonne Moses whom I make mine executor." Comfort 
Starr in 1659 by n ^ s wm< ( see Suffolk Records, vol. 1, p. 353) 
directs and provides, " I commend and comit my soule into 
the hands of Almighty God . . . my body to ye earth fro 
whence it came to be burryed, within ye usuall place of buriall 
in Boston, so neere my Late wife as may be possible with 
conveniency." So in the will of John Kingsbury in 1660 (Suf- 


folk Records, vol. I, p. 379) we find "and my body I comitt 
to the earth from whence it was taken after my death to bee 
decently buried in Christian buriall by the care and discretion 
of my executors." And in the will of William H. Sumner 
of West Roxbury (i860) : "Item Second. I will and direct 
that my body shall be interred in my Tomb, on lot number 
Eight Hundred and Forty-three, on Sumner Hill, Mount 
Warren Avenue, in the Forest Hills Cemetery, in West Rox- 
bury." We venture the assertion that no one who may read 
this opinion can examine three or four old family wills without 
finding evidence of this custom. 

The effect of this is well stated in the English article above 
referred to, where it is said : "It is difficult to suppose that 
these directions, often accompanied with the minutest details 
as to the manner and cost of burial and by legacies dependent 
on their observance, should have been mere vain words of no 
binding force. At all events, though hundreds of wills con- 
tain such directions, it is strange, if they were of no binding 
force, that none out of the large number which are extrava- 
gant or absurd should ever have been called in question in a 
court of law. It is true that without such directions a duty 
would be implied in the executors to bury becomingly, and 
that in most cases where it is expressed the duty is laid on 
the executors. But the same is true of many other parts of 
an executor's office and there is no reason why this duty as 
well as the others should not be deputed to some one who is 
not an executor." 

This right, therefore, of directing the disposition of one's 
body has been exercised and respected here and elsewhere 
for centuries, although happily without frequent resort to the 
courts. And this has been appreciated by the courts, as is 

1 1 

shown by the opinion in the leading case of Pierce v. Swan 
Point Cemetery, 10 R.I. 227, cited with approval in Massa- 
chusetts and elsewhere, that " the right of a person to pro- 
vide by will for the disposition of his body has been generally 

We find few expressions of legal opinion worthy of mention 
which qualify or contradict the general rule and custom. One 
English judge has expressed an opinion that a man cannot 
dispose of his body by will because there is no property in 
a dead body. (See Williams v. Williams, L. R. 20 Ch. D. 


Later English judges show more respect for the wishes 
of the deceased. (See L. R. 1892, p. 386; L. R. 1^94, p. 

This opinion was not, however, called for by the facts of 
the case then before him, and, as you are probably aware, 
judges and lawyers call such unnecessary opinions obiter, 
and do not accord to them the respect usually observed 
towards precedents of actual decisions. 

This English opinion, although ably criticised in England 
(see 1 7 Law Journal, above referred to), was quoted with ap- 
proval by the California court in the case of Enos v. Snyder, 
131 Cal. 68. But these opinions were based largely on an old 
common-law maxim that " there is no property in a dead 
body." The origin, and even the existence, of this doctrine 
have been disputed. (See report of Hon. Samuel R. Ruggles, 
in re Beekman St., 4 Bradford's Surrogate Rep. at pp. 520-521 
(N.Y.) ; cf. 10 Central Law Journal at p. 304.) Mr. Ruggles, 
in his report above cited, says that the doctrine was to be 
accounted for partly by the separation of the civil courts and 
the ecclesiastical courts, the latter exercising over the burial 


of the dead "a legal, secular authority which they had 
gradually abstracted from the ancient civil courts to which it 
originally belonged," and that the separate existence and 
authority of the English ecclesiastical courts, therefore, 
helped to prevent the civil courts from developing the law of 
individual rights in the matter, and render the English prece- 
dents on this subject of little weight in this country, where all 
secular authority is vested in the civil courts. 

Whatever its origin, the statement that a body is not 
property is neither useful nor helpful now in the present dis- 
cussion, and the question is merely one of phraseology. It is 
certain that rights in the bodies of the dead are not property 
in the sense of merchandise. It is equally certain that one 
cannot draw from the premise that there is no such property 
the conclusion that there are no enforceable rights. Accord- 
ingly, in a recent Pennsylvania case, the opinions in Williams 
v. Williams and Enos v. Snyder, that a man cannot control 
the disposition of his body, which we have just criticised as 
obiter, were stated to be opposed to the weight of authority in 
this country. 

See Pettigrew v. Pettigrew, 207 Pa. St. at p. 317. 

In this same Pennsylvania case the court expressed a doubt 
as to how far the desires of the decedent should prevail against 
those of a surviving husband or wife, but it was a doubt by a 
court which fully recognizes and agrees with the general line 
of argument adopted by this opinion which we may sum up by 
an apt quotation from an opinion of the Supreme Court of 
Iowa : "It always has been and will ever continue to be the 
duty of courts to see to it that the expressed wishes of one 


as to his final resting-place shall, so far as it is possible, be 
carried out." 

Thompson v. Deeds, 93 la., 228. 

See also O ' Donnell v. Slack, 123 Cal. 285. 


What are the Relative Rights of Members of the 
Family of a Dead Person and Others Interested, 
as among Themselves ? 

In our opinion, as above stated, the directions of the dece- 
dent in a will or other appropriate writing are of binding force 
and effect. This second question, therefore, arises where the 
deceased has expressed no opinion upon the whole matter, and 
when the family differ among themselves. In such cases we 
advise you that there are no absolute rights. There are 
definite legal rules of precedence which may, and which 
practically always do, govern the matter ; but, in the last 
resort, the courts of law may give weight to the special cir- 
cumstances and establish a rule of fitness and decency in the 
particular case which does not precisely conform to these 
rules of precedence. 

In Massachusetts the court decided in the case of Burney 
v. Children's Hospital, 169 Mass. 57, that the father of a 
deceased minor child may maintain an action for damages for 
mutilating the child's body by an unauthorized autopsy. The 
grounds of the decision were that in the Massachusetts de- 
cisions " a right of possession " (of a dead body) " is recog- 
nized, which is vested " (primarily) " in the husband or wife or 
next of kin, and not in the executors." 


The court cited on this point various cases, including the 
Rhode Island cases of 

Pierce v. Swan Point Cemetery ', 10 R.I. 227. 
Hackett v. Hackett, 18 R.I. 155. 

The court then held that the father, as the natural guardian 
of the child, was entitled to the possession of its body for 
burial in the condition in which it was at time of death, and, 
therefore, was entitled to sue for mutilation of it. 

From the opinion in this and other cases it may be laid 
down as the general rule of law in this country that, in the 
absence of special circumstances of unfitness and in the ab- 
sence of expressed wishes of the deceased : — 

1. The husband has the right to control the disposition of 
his wife's body. (Smyley v. Reese, 53 Ala. 89; Dnrell v. 
Hayward, 9 Gray, 248; Weld v. Walker, 130 Mass. 422.) 

2. That the wife has the same right as to her husband's 
body. {Hackett v. Hackett, 18 R.I. 155; Larson v. Chase, 
47 Minn. 307.) 

3. That, if there is no surviving husband or wife, the living 
children have the right, as they naturally come next. 

See Lowry v. Plitt, 16 Am. Law Reg. n. s. 155 (Pa.). 

4. Next would come probably the living grandchildren. 

5. If there were no children or other descendants, then 
first the father. (See Burney v. Children s Hospital, 169 
Mass. 57.) 

Second, the mother, as she is the natural guardian after the 
father. (A court might regard the father and mother as 
having equal rights, especially if the deceased child was of 

6. After them the living brothers and sisters, and so on 


through the living next of kin. (See 10 Central Law Journal 
at p. 327.) 

7. That the rights of these persons interested will be pro- 
tected by a court of equity. ( Weld v. Walker, 130 Mass.) 

8. That the estate is liable for the reasonable expenses of 
disposing of the body. [Hapgood v. Houghton, 10 Pick. 154 ; 
Pettengill v. Abbott, 167 Mass. 307; Sweeney v. Muldoon, 
1 39 Mass. 304.) 

9. That, in the absence of directions from those entitled to 
give them, the executor or administrator has the right and duty 
of providing decent burial. 2 Blackstone's Com. 508 ; Petti- 
grew v. Pettigrew, 207 Pa. St. ; Hapgoodv. Houghton, 10 Pick. 
1 54 ; Pettengill v. Abbott, supra. ; Sweeney v. Muldoon, supra. 

It has been argued, even by judges whose conclusions agree 
substantially with this opinion, that all of these rights spring 
from legal duties ; for instance, that a husband has the right 
to his wife's body because he has a right to administer her es- 
tate and because the office of administrator carries the duty to 
bury and, therefore, the right to the body. (See Pettigrew v. 
Pettigrew, above cited.) Such reasoning seems to us fallacious 
and unnecessarily complex. It overlooks the distinction be- 
tween the various rights. Some are public rights connected 
with public duties, such as the old common law duty of a house- 
holder to bury a person dying under his roof if there was no 
one else to do it. (See Reg. v. Stewart, 12 Ad. & E. at pp. 
778, 779). The duty and corresponding right of the executor or 
administrator to bury may also fairly be considered to be public 
in their nature, because some one must do it. Other rights, 
however, are not of the same class. Some who have rights 
may under some circumstances have duties in the same matter, 
as in the case of the husband or wife or father or mother where 


there is no estate of the deceased. (See Weld v. Walker, 
supra ; Bumey v. Children's Hospital, supra ; Chappie v. Cooper, 
13 Mees. & W. 259.) But it does not follow and is not the 
fact that such duties and rights are always correlative. There 
is no public concern in the disposal of the body except to see 
that it is decently done. The rights of persons in such matters 
as are here considered are, therefore, essentially private, and 
rest on the law's respect for private feelings, and the law, so 
stated, does not require technical and misleading analogies to 
support it. (See G Donne 11 v. Slack, 123 Cal. 285 at p. 289.) 

It is suggested in the Rhode Island case of Pierce v. Swan 
Point Cemetery, already referred to, that all the rights in a 
dead body are subject to regulation by a court of equity simi- 
lar to the control which a court exercises as to the custody of 
children, the ground being that the custody of a dead body is 
a "trust" for friends and others feeling a natural interest ; and 
this suggestion was repeated by the court in Hackett v. Hackett, 
18 R.I. 159, with the additional remark, that "in no case is 
it" (the right to control) "an absolute right." 

It is to be regretted that the word " trust " has been intro- 
duced into the discussion, for the word has such technical 
significance in the law of property that it is likely to create 
confusion. It is clear that all that is meant by the word 
" trust," as used by the Rhode Island court and other courts 
that have used it, is that after the burial of a body the courts 
will protect the repose of the dead, and will settle disputes by 
some common-sense rule of respect for the feelings of those 
interested ; and before burial, if disputes arise between next 
of kin of the same degree who have equal rights, or even be- 
tween relatives of different degrees under special circumstan- 
ces, the courts will regulate the matter as well as they can 


on the ground that rights in this class of cases are not 
absolute, like property rights, but are subject, not only to the 
rules of public health and decency, but also, to some extent, 
to considerations of fitness and respect. For instance, it is 
not uncommon for persons desiring cremation to direct that 
their ashes be given to the winds. The jurisdiction over such 
a case does not rest on any theory of a " trust," as the word 
is used in the law of property. It exists, and has always 
existed in this country, because common sense and decency 
demand it and it is limited by the ordinary limitations of 
common sense and decency. There is no reason why a court 
should thwart such wishes. 

In spite of such differences, as we have pointed out, of 
reasoning and phraseology in different cases, the rules of pre- 
cedence and of rights of relatives throughout the country are 
substantially those herein stated. 


In What Form and Substance should Instructions 
be given by one desiring to control the disposi- 
TION of his Body, e.g., by Directing Cremation ? 

We respectfully advise as follows : — 

1. Such instructions should be contained in the will, in 
order that they may have the benefit of the special sanction 
and force of that instrument. 

2. As wills are often not opened until after funeral and 
burial have taken place, such instructions should also be made 
known in writing to the person or persons likely to have 
charge of matters immediately after death, such as an immedi- 
ate relative, the head of the house in which one lives, or an 


executor named in a will and known to the family to be so 
named. It is wise also to file copies of such written instruc- 
tions with your Society. A clearly expressed oral request is 
probably sufficient ; but it has neither the sanction nor the 
freedom from mistake and error of directions written and 

3. We have sometimes suggested to inquirers who have 
expressed a doubt whether any relative or friend would move 
to protect their wishes after they were gone that some provi- 
sion may be made by will which will interest those who in- 
herit property in seeing that such wishes are respected. A 
form for such provision is : - — 

" I give to the Massachusetts Cremation Society the sum 

of $ If my remains are cremated in accordance with 

my expressed desires, this legacy shall be void. If not, it shall 
stand in place of such disposition of my remains as the prac- 
tical expression of my desire to further the cause of cremation." 

To sum up, then, the authorities generally in this country, 
except where the law has been changed by statute, show that 
ordinarily : — 

First, a person may control the disposition of his or her 
body, and direct it to be cremated. 

Second, if no such directions are left, the matter is in the 
control of the survivors in the order stated in this opinion ; 
but, where disputes arise between persons of the same degree 
of kinship or in any unusual circumstances, the court will take 
control, and exercise a wise discretion in the matter. 

Third, the mode of control by the decedent is that which 
we have just indicated. 

As you may desire to circulate this opinion for the informa- 
tion of your members, and some may be interested in the 


literature of the subject, we refer, in addition to the refer- 
ences above, to a bibliography of the whole subject in the 
note to Johnston v. Maiinus, 18 Abbott's New Cases (N. Y.) 
at p. 75 and to the case of Pettigrew v. Pettigrew, above 

Respectfully submitted, 



^1 M . Li. 

Cremation Society- 




for the year 





Geo. H. Ellis Co., Printers, 272 Congress Street 


Rev. Paul Revere Frothingham, President, 294 Beacon Street. 
John O. Marble, M.D., Vice-President, Worcester. 
Richard W. Hale, Treasurer, 60 State Street. 
Roger D. Swaim, Clerk, 60 State Street 

Rev. Edward H. Hall. 
Pres. Charles W. Eliot. 
Right Rev. William Lawrence. 
Miss Katharine P. Loring. 


Rev. Paul Revere Frothingham, 294 Beacon Street. 
John O. Marble, M.D., Worcester. 
Augustus Hemenway, 10 Tremont Street. 
Babson S. Ladd, 10 Tremont Street. 
John Ritchie, 3 Hancock Ave. 

Prof. R. H. Richards, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

John A. Higginson, Hotel Hamilton. 

Richard W. Hale, 60 State Street. 

Rosewell B. Lawrence, 745 Tremont Building. 

Albert S. Parsons, Lexington. 

Henry Copley Greene, 354 Marlborough Street. 



To the Shareholders of the Massachusetts Cremation Society: 
The undersigned, as Treasurer, submits the following an- 
nual report for 1905. Owing to the lamented death of our 
President, Dr. James R. Chadwick, this report must extend 
not only to the financial results of the Treasurer's operations, 
but also to matters of general interest such as were in the past 
much better covered by Dr. Chadwick. The Directors have 
passed a suitable minute expressing their sense of the loss of 
Dr. Chadwick, and a corresponding vote will be submitted to 
your meeting for action. 
During the year we have cremated the bodies of the following. 


William H. Baldwin, Jr. 
Henry Varnum Poor. 
George W. Weld. 
Charles Eliot Guild. 
William Hobbs Goodwin. 
Joshua Crane. 

Mrs. Mary Ashton Livermore. 
Miss Mary B. Comyns. 

Dr. James R. Chadwick. 
Dr. A. Martin Peirce (one of 

the leading doctors of New 

George R. Nazro. 
Richard Hodgson. 
Edward Atkinson. 

The main event of interest during the year has been the ef- 
fective completion of the first section of our Columbarium. 


Copies of the descriptive pamphlet are available for distribu- 
tion upon application to the Clerk, Roger D. Swaim, Esq., 
60 State Street, Boston. The main work of construction was 
accomplished during Dr. Chadwick's lifetime and under his 
unceasing care and supervision, so that it stands as the monu- 
ment of his last great service to the cause for which he cared 
so much and did so much. Delays in the iron-work have pre- 
vented its formal opening; but we now expect that to take 
place at an early date, and we already have enough applica- 
tions for niches to feel assured that it will be a success. 

The financial accounts for the year are satisfactory, and 
show that the corporation can earn a surplus available for divi- 
dends of from $1,500 to $2,000 annually after paying for man- 
agement. Full charges for management are in this year's 
acccounts, while in 1904 corrected charges for management 
are a little larger than normal, as both the Medical Library and 
the new Treasurer's office were current at one time. During 
the past year, however, we have completely rebuilt our Re- 
torts at a cost of over $1,000, and the conservative course has 
been followed of charging the whole work to operation account, 
leaving the net earnings for the year nominally $468.04. As 
such work is good for probably ten years at least, it is expected 
that the actual net earnings to be expected in the future will 
be as satisfactory as in the past. 

The receipts and expenses more in detail are as follows : — 

Resources Other than Current Income. 

Cash balance, January i, 1905, $5,608.81 

Added to Special Fund,;New England Cremation So- 
ciety, Royalties and Sales "Quarter Century of 

Cremation," 2.65 

Columbarium Sales, 45 .00 


Incineration Fund, Payments in Advance for Crema- 
tion (2), 60.00 

Sale of Stock, 1,000.00 

Perpetual Care of Ashes, John Storer Cobb, 100.00 $6,816 46 

Current Income. 

225 Cremations, $6,445.00 

Net Profit on Sale of Urns, 54-21 

Interest at Bank, 118.95 

Miscellaneous, .40 6,618.56 

Total Resources, $13,435.02 

Current Outgo. 

Operations (including $1,000 for rebuilding Retorts), $4,806.96 

Insurance, 69.63 

Spent on Building, 124.16 

General Expenses, including $100 for 1904 655.34 

Publicity, 49443 $6,150.52 

Capital and Other Outlay. 

Columbarium Construction, $5,468.52 

Gate Inscription and Other Charges to Land Account, . 162.50 
Special Fund New England Cremation Society, Sundry 

Expenses charged to this Account, 89.99 

Incineration Fund, New England Cremation Society, 

5 Cremations, 150.00 $5,871.01 

Total Outgo, $12,021.53 

Balance Cash in Bank, $1,318.73 

The above Current Income, $6,618.56 

And Current Outgo, 6,150.52 

Leave a nominal profit of 468.04 

To which add Retort Construction, $1,000.00 

1904 General Expenses, in this Year's Accounts, . . . 100.00 1,100.00 

Also Publicity Account, which Represents Propaganda 

rather than Necessary Expense, 494 43 

Gives a result of, $2,062.47 


confirming the opinion of the Treasurer as above expressed. 


Land Account, $13,474.05 

Buildings Account, 25,500.00 

Urns Account, Stock on Hand, 297.95 

Cash Account, 1,318.75 

Unexpired Insurance Account, Estimated Value, . . . 206.58 

Consignment Account (see Dedham Pottery Co. below), 71.00 

Profit and Loss, 945-28 

Columbarium Construction Account, 5,468.52 $47,282.11 


Capital Stock, $43,190.00 

Special Fund, New England Cremation Society, . . . 1,267.54 
Advance Payments, Incineration Fund, New England 

Cremation Society, 2,608.57 

Perpetual Care Contracts, 100.00 

Columbarium Sales Account, 45 .00 

Dedham Pottery Co. (Urns Consigned), 71.00 $47,282.11 

Respectfully submitted, 

RICHARD W. HALE, Treasurer. 

60 8tate Street, Boston. 
January 3, igo6. 

Cremation Society 

for the year 






Geo. H. Ellis Co., Printers, 272 Congress Street 


Rev. Paul Revere Frothtngham, President, 294 Beacon Street. 
John O. Marble, M.D., Vice-President, Worcester. 
Richard W. Hale, Treasurer, 60 State Street. 
Roger D. Swaim, Clerk, 60 State Street. 

Rev. Edward H. Hall. 
President Charles W. Eliot. 
Right Rev. William Lawrence. 
Miss Katharine P. Lorlng. 


Rev. Paul Revere Frothtngham, 294 Beacon Street. 
John O. Marble, M.D., Worcester. 
Augustus Hemenway, 10 Tremont Street. 
Babson S. Ladd, 10 Tremont Street. 
John Ritchie, 3 Hancock Ave. 

Professor R. H. Richards, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

John A. Higginson, Hotel Hamilton. 

Richard W. Hale, 60 State Street. 

Rosewell B. Lawrence, 745 Tremont Building. 

Albert S. Parsons, Lexington. 

Henry Copley Greene, 354 Marlborough Street. 


To the Shareholders of the Massachusetts Cremation Society; 

The increase in the number of cremations in the past year 
shows that our cause is advancing. If the movement is not 
making progress as some of us might wish, it is at least ad- 
vancing as fast as any one has reason to expect. 

The wonder is, to my mind, that we have won the ground 
that is now ours so quickly. 

Sentimental objection has been difficult to overcome. All 
of us can remember when cremation actually had to be apol- 
ogized for. Such is happily no longer the case. Let us not 
rest content until people are brought to the pass when they 
have to apologize for burial, and explain why the better and 
safer way was not followed. We have advanced so that burial 
within city limits is forbidden. But what is dangerous inside 
a city is dangerous outside, and what to-day is beyond the 
limits of the city will soon be included in them. 

Cremation, it is said, is pagan; for the pagans burned their 
dead. But many of them also buried, and those who did so 
were the most ignorant. It was when pagan civilization rose 
to its highest points that burning instead of burying was in- 
troduced. Among certain ancient people cremation was a 
distinction reserved for those who merited something better 
than the rest. The nobles and priests were not allowed to 
rot in the earth, but were permitted to mount on the wings 


of fire into heaven. Fire was an emblem of divinity. It meant 
life. It was the symbol of purity. 

It is materialism that clings to the body. Were we truly 
spiritual, we should know that the body is nothing which 
need be kept to mould in the earth. The notion that earth 
burial will make resurrection of the body easier is a relic of 
ancient ignorance. 

Paul Revere Frothingham, 


January 2, 1907. 


To the Shareholders oj the Massachusetts Cremation Society: 

The undersigned as Treasurer submits the following annual 
report for 1906. The number of cremations and the demand 
for niches in the Columbarium have been very encouraging. 
We have had 238 cremations during the year, an advance of 
8 over our previous highest number, 230, in 1899. Among 
the bodies cremated have been those of the following prominent 
people : — 

Samuel Cabot. Sylvester B. Hinckley. 

James L. Simonds. Charles S. Cummings. 

Charles Weil. Mrs. Robert D. Wrenn. 

Walter Almy. 

During 1906 we have sold twenty- two niches in the Colum- 
barium, aggregating in price $1,510. Most of the niches sold 
have been provided with gates, and we hope during the com- 
ing year to have gates on all the niches. The above is a good 
result, considering that, until the gates are on and are satis- 
factory, we have not thought it wise to press the sale of niches. 

The financial accounts for the year are satisfactory. 




Decrease of Assets. 

Decrease in stock of urns $18.85 

Decrease in value of unexpired insurance 1.21 $20.06 

Increase of Liabilities. 

Increase in Special Fund, New England Cremation So- 
ciety $7.00 

Perpetual care contracts 105.00 

Columbarium sales 1,510.00 1,622.00 

Increase of General Profit and Loss. 

December 31, 1906, Cr $1,753.76 

December 31, 1905, Dr 945- 2 8 2,699.04 


Increase of Assets. 

Cobb Mural Decoration $204.50 

Columbarium 1,834.33 

Cash 2,272.27 $4,311.10 

Decrease of Liabilities 
Charged to advance payments for cremation . . . 








Increase. Decrease. 













«\3o l 5-9° 












Net earnings carried to 

Profit and Loss .... 






Land Account $13,474.05 

Buildings Account 25,500.00 

Urns Account, Stock on Hand 279.10 

Cash Account 3,591.00 

Unexpired Insurance (Estimated Value) 2 °5-37 

Columbarium Construction Account 7,302.85 

Cobb Mural Decoration 204.50 $50,556.87 


Capital Stock $43,190.00 

Special Fund, New England Cremation Society . . . 1,274.54 
Advance Payments, Incineration Fund, New England 

Cremation Society * 2,578.57 

Perpetual Care Contracts 205.00 

Columbarium Sales Account 1,555.00 

Profit and Loss i>753-7 6 %°>556.87 

Respectfully submitted, 



Boston, January 2, 1907. 



Massachusetts Mt. Auburn Cemetery 

Year. Cremation Society. began in 1900. Total 

1894 87 — 87 

1895 88 — 88 

1896 135 — 135 

1897 160 — 160 

1898 167 — 167 

1899 230 — 230 

1900 188 50 238 

1901 171 119 290 

19 02 219 134 353 

i9°3 22 4 iS3 377 

1904 211 180 391 

1905 227 183 410 

1906 238 163 4 Q1 

Grand Total 2,345 982 3,327 

Cremation Society 

for the year 
1 9 O 7 


Addresses at the Annual Meeting 
Cremation A broad — Information for Travellers 




Geo. H. Ellis Co., Printers, 272 Congress Street 


Rev. Paul Revere Frothingham, President, 294 Beacon Street. 
John O. Marble, M.D., Vice-President, Worcester. 
Richard W. Hale, Treasurer, 60 State Street. 
Roger D. Swaim, Clerk, 60 State Street. 

Rev. Edward H. Hall. 
President Charles W. Eliot. 
Right Rev. William Lawrence. 
Miss Katharine P. Lorlng. 

Rev. Paul Revere Frothingham, 294 Beacon Street. 
John O. Marble, M.D., Worcester. 
Augustus Hemenway, 10 Tremont Street. 
Babson S. Ladd, 10 Tremont Street. 
John Ritchie, 3 Hancock Ave. 

Professor R. H. Richards, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

John A. Higginson, Hotel Hamilton. 

Richard W. Hale, 60 State Street. 

Rosewell B. Lawrence, 745 Tremont Building. 

Albert S. Parsons, Lexington. 

Henry Copley Greene, 354 Marlborough Street. 


The first thing to take note of, as we come together for our 
annual meeting, is the fact that the sentiment of the world is 
moving in our direction. Our cause is winning new adherents 
every year. It was in 1876, a little more than thirty years ago, 
that the first cremation took place in the United States. At 
the end of 1878 there had been but two cases where incinera- 
tion was used instead of earth burial. Sixteen years later, 
however, in 1894, there had been 808 cremations, all told, in 
this country. At the present time there are more than this in 
the course of a single year. At Mt. Auburn and Forest Hills 
alone, in the year just past, there were nearly 500 bodies cre- 

But why do we urge this method for the disposal of our dead ? 

First. Because it is healthier. Cemeteries pollute the ground, 
and thus the water supply, and often the very atmosphere in 
their neighborhood. It is because of the physical danger to 
the health of the living that burial is generally forbidden within 
city limits. George Eliot prayed the famous prayer that she 
might become after death 

"The sweet presence of a good diffused, 
And in diffusion ever more intense." 


Many people, however, by their bodies being buried, become 
the malignant presence of an ill diffused, and contribute to the 
disease and suffering of the world. 

Secondly. It is more beautiful. Instead of the open grave 
and the sullen earth there is the purifying fire, and the flames 
that mount toward heaven. Cremation simply accomplishes 
quickly what burial brings to pass by a slow and hideous 
process through long years. 

Third. Cremation is more spiritual. It carries into prac- 
tice the teaching of all pure religion ; namely, that the body is 
the garment merely of the soul. When the soul has fled, the 
flesh that covered it has no further uses, and should be disposed 
of reverently and most effectively. 


An Address prepared by the Clerk. 

We have had a number of inquiries from persons who con- 
templated travelling in Europe as to the necessary steps to 
secure cremation in the unfortunate event of their death abroad. 
Such preparations careful persons consider, as they make their 
wills before embarking. Not only do all the other arguments 
in favor of cremation apply, but the great difference in the 
cost of bringing home an urn containing the ashes as com- 
pared with that of bringing a body makes the matter especially 
worthy of consideration. 

We applied to our national representatives abroad for in- 
formation, and have received replies from which we have 
made up the following information: — 

In Great Britain and Europe there are crematories at fifty- 
one places. 

In Great Britain there are crematories at Bradford, Glas- 
gow, Hull, Ilford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Man- 
chester, and Sheffield. 

In France at Paris and Rouen. 

In Italy at Alessandria, Asti, Bologna, Bra, Brescia, Como, 
Cremona, Florence, Leghorn, Lodi, Mantua, Milan, Modena, 
Novara, Padua, Perugia, Pisa, Rome, San Remo, Siena, 
Spezia, Spolito, Turin, Udine, Varese, Venice, and Verona. 


In Switzerland at Aarau, Basel, Geneva, Zurich, and Lau- 

In Germany at Gotha, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Jena, and 

In Denmark at Copenhagen. 

In Sweden at Stockholm and Gothenburg. 

In Austria there is no crematory, but at Vienna is "Die 
Flamme," a large and active cremation society which hopes 
soon to have a crematory and is prepared now to assist in 
transportation to the nearest crematory. 

There are no crematories in Spain, Belgium, Holland, or 
Russia, but arrangements may be made for transportation to 
the nearest crematory elsewhere. 

In case of death it is wise for the relatives to — and, if one is 
travelling alone and is seriously ill, one should — communicate 
with the American consul, who can often assist in avoiding 
extortionate charges. 

The fees for cremation abroad are about those charged in 
the United States, varying from $10 to $50. The charge for 
transportation of an urn is much less than that for transporta- 
tion of a body. Probably the bringing of an urn to the United 
States would cost less than $100. We know of one case where 
it cost $103 to send an urn from Florence to Boston, but that 
includes an export duty levied by the Italian government. 

Cremation in the United States. 

In the United States, there are, we are informed, crematories : 
In California, two at San Francisco and one each at Pasa- 
dena, Los Angeles, and Oakland. 
In Colorado at Denver. 


In the District of Columbia at Washington. 
In Florida at Jacksonville. 
In Illinois at Chicago. 

In Indiana at Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. 
In Iowa at Davenport. 
In Maryland at Baltimore. 

In Massachusetts at Forest Hills and Cambridge. 

In Michigan at Detroit. 

In Minnesota at St. Paul. 

In Missouri at St. Louis and Kansas City. 

In New Jersey at Linden. 

In New York at New York City, Buffalo, Troy, Waterville, 
and Swinburne Island. 
In Ohio at Cincinnati and at Cleveland. 
In Oregon at Portland. 

In Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Lancaster, 
and Washington. 
In Washington at Seattle. 
In Wisconsin at Milwaukee. 

In Canada there is a crematory at Montreal. 

A summary of the requirements stated leads us to advise a 
request for cremation, signed and witnessed. This should be 
carried with one's passport or private papers. A form for 
such a request follows. Suitable blank forms can be obtained 
from the Clerk of the Society. 



This form is prepared to enable those who approve of cremation to 
express formally their judgment and desire. It should be signed in tripli- 
cate, and one copy should be mailed to the Clerk of the Massachusetts 
Cremation Society, 60 State Street, Boston, Mass. Another copy should 
be placed in the hands of the executor or next of kin or of some friend 
who will see to the carrying out of the signer's wish, and the third copy kept 
with one's private papers or carried with them when travelling. 

In the firm belief that the general welfare will be promoted by the sub- 
stitution of incineration for inhumation as a means of disposing of the dead, 
I hereby solemnly express my desire and request that, as soon as prac- 
ticable after my decease, my body may be cremated at the crematorium 
of the Massachusetts Cremation Society or elsewhere, as convenient. 

Signed this day of 19 . 





Mr. President and Ladies and Gentlemen, — I cannot but feel 
pride in being called upon as a veteran in the cremation move- 
ment, and I have for twenty years been an active worker in 
the propaganda, and greatly interested in the cause. 

In December, 1883, a card in the Boston Transcript invited 
all interested in the subject of cremation to meet at the office 
of John Storer Cobb, Esq., in the Rialto Building, corner of 
Milk and Devonshire Streets. I was glad to find myself in a 
little company of Boston's best-known citizens, and consider- 
able enthusiasm was shown. The effort was made to form a 
company to build a crematory, and many subscribed, but not 
enough to make it safe to proceed ; and the movement languished 
until 1 89 1, when the New England Cremation Society was 
founded to carry on the work. Mr. Cobb was its President, 
and he must be called the father of the cremation movement 
in America. He had previously founded a society in New 
York. Every person should read his book, "A Quarter- 
century of Cremation in America," which can be found in 
public libraries or purchased of this Society. 

It is curious to note the coincidences in the growth of cre- 
mation. The first cremation in Europe, by modern methods, 
was in Germany in 1876, the same year that Dr. F. J. 
LeMoyne's crematory in Washington, Penn., was first used. 
In 1883 the first cremations in Milan, Italy, took place, and 


also in New York; and it is rather humiliating to know that 
the first in New England — usually the first in new move- 
ments — did not take place until 1893 (that of Mrs. Lucy 
Stone). The growth to thousands each year is remarkable, 
and it is safe to say that no reform so revolutionary to long- 
established custom ever made more rapid progress. 

No arguments are needed here in behalf of this method, but 
experience and words of encouragement. There are three 
stages in the evolution of a cremationist. 

First. At its first suggestion there is great reluctance in 
adopting so radical a change in the custom of centuries, if 
not horror at the thought of using fire. 

Second. With further knowledge comes a willingness, if 
not strong desire, to be cremated, but reluctance as to the 
cremation of one's loved ones. I think we have all passed 
through this stage before we reach the third, — that of recog- 
nizing the advantages of cremation over earth burial from 
every point of view, and having a thorough belief in it as a 
duty to future generations, sparing them from the menace 
of graveyards, contaminating earth, water, and air in their 
vicinity. To this stage most thoughtful persons have come, 
and we believe that only a fair consideration of the subject, 
and knowledge of it, is necessary to making the reform well- 
nigh universal. 

Now a fourth step should be taken. Having the courage of 
our convictions, we should take every opportunity to convince 
others of the benefits to the living and to future generations 
of this method of disposal of the remains of the dead. 

Dryden said, "Be kind to my remains." We cremation- 
ists believe that we are the only ones "kind to the remains" 
of our friends. Mr. Roland Litchfield, the venerable and 


respected undertaker of Cambridge for fifty years, told me in 
1883 that, "if the general public could know or see what 
he was obliged to know and see, there would never be another 
body put into the ground." 

The subject is too unpleasant to speak of, — most persons 
refuse to think of it, — but in the interest of a better method it 
should be noted. Mr. Swaim's admirable paper on cremation 
in case of death abroad recalls an incident. At a meeting, 
years ago, to make converts to our cause, Rev. Charles G. 
Ames, the beloved preacher at the South End, was asked to 
speak, being seen in the audience. He said that he had always 
been opposed to cremation, until asked, shortly before, to 
officiate at the funeral of a parishioner who had died in Florence, 
Italy. Surprised not to see a casket, he learned that the re- 
mains had been cremated in Florence, and here, in an urn 
surrounded with flowers, were nothing but clean, pure ashes, 
all that remained, but so different from the usual forbidding 
receptacle, so unpleasant to think of, that he was converted 
at once. 

But, besides being "kind to the remains" of our friends, 
infinitely more should we be kind to those who come after us, 
and should use the personal influence we each can exert to put 
an end to the earth burial custom, dangerous to the health 
of the world. I believe, with President Frothingham, that 
the time will come when burial will be entirely done away 
with, and it will be considered a disgrace to pollute the earth 
in this way. 

The health and happiness of the world will be improved 
and the methods which have been universal so long will be seen 
as a sad mistake. To this end we should be not doers only, 
but preachers of cremation. 


To the Shareholders oj the Massachusetts Cremation Society: 

Mr. Hale, our Treasurer, is unfortunately ill in London, 
and in his absence the Assistant Treasurer makes the following 
report for the year 1907. 

The increase in the number of cremations has been most 
encouraging. Last year's number, 238, exceeded our previous 
record made in 1899 by 8. This year we had 38 more than 
last year, or 276 in all. 

The President will speak of the prominence of the persons 
who during this year chose incineration to burial. It is 
apparent that the thinking people of to-day favor cremation 
and that the cause is progressing. 

Early in the year the experiment was tried of inserting an 
advertisement in the Boston Evening Transcript, and later in 
some of the religious papers. As a result, we received quite 
an encouraging number of replies requesting literature and 
further information, and the experiment will probably be tried 

New pews and pulpit and platform chairs have been provided 
for the chapel, and have materially improved its appearance. 
We need a new organ in place of the present temporary one. 
A suitable organ will cost about $2,500. 

During the year we sold twenty-seven niches in the Colum- 
barium at an aggregate price of $1,490. In 1906 we sold 


twenty-four, and the total number of niches sold is now fifty- 
two. Perpetual care for twenty-one urns was arranged for, 
making with those previously so provided for twenty-eight in 
our care. 


Increase of Assets. 

Buildings $847.99 

Increase in stock of urns 204.75 

Increase in value of unexpired insurance 3.00 

Columbarium 1,206.05 

Cash 2,423.14 $4,684.93 

Decrease of Liabilities. 

Charged to advance payments for incineration .... 210.00 


Increase of Liabilities. 

Special Fund, New England Cremation Society, sale of 

Quarter-Century of Cremation $2.75 

Incineration Fund, advance payments 90.00 

Perpetual care contracts 288.00 

Columbarium sales 1,490.00 $1,870.75 

Increase of General Profit and Loss. 
Increase over December 31, 1906 2,819.68 

Decrease of Assets. 

Cobb mural decoration carried to profit and loss ac- 
count 204.50 




1907. 1906. Increase. Decrease 

Cremations $8,130.00 $7,010.00 $1,120.00 

Profit on urns 219.16 97-33 121.83 

Interest 90.38 53.11 37- 2 7 

$8,439.54 $7,160.44 $1,279.10 


Operation $4,579- 8 5 $3>5i5-9 6 $1,063.89 

Insurance 92.16 85.05 7.01 

General expenses .... 483.42 682.22 $198.8 

Publicity 2 59-93 118. 17 141.76 

$5,415.36 $4,401.40 $1,212.76 $198.8' 

Net earnings carried to 

profit and loss . . . $3,024.18 $2,759.04 $265.14 


Land account $13,474.05 

Building account 26,347.99 

Urns, stock on hand 483.85 

Cash account 6,014.14 

Unexpired insurance (estimated value) 208.37 

Columbarium 8,508.90 $55,037.30 


Capital stock $43,190.00 

Special Fund, New England Cremation Society . . 1,277.29 
Advance payments, Incineration Fund, New England 

Cremation Society 2,458.57 

Perpetual care contracts 493.00 

Columbarium sales account 3,045.00 

Profit and loss account 4,573.44 $55,037.30 

Respectfully submitted, 


Assistant Treasurer. 

Boston, January 15, 1908. 



Massachusetts Ml. Auburn Cemetery, 

Year. Cremation Society. began in 1900. Total. 

1894 87 — 87 

1895 88 — 88 

1896 135 — 135 

1897 160 — 160 

1898 167 — 167 

1899 230 — 230 

1900 188 50 238 

1901 171 119 290 

19 02 2I 9 r 34 353 

i9°3 22 4 153 377 

1904 211 180 391 

1905 227 183 410 

1906 238 163 401 

1907 276 210 486 

Total 2,621 1,192 3,813